When it comes to hardshell kayaks and other accessories, having them easily accessible from your dock is a must in the summer months.
There are several different types of kayak racks you can go with, but typically the more low profile the better if you are looking to store 1-2. There are also kayak ramp and lift options you may want to consider if you plan to use your kayak more frequently and need them to be easily accessible.
In this post, I’ll break down what you need to know before purchasing or building a kayak rack for your dock.
Determine the location and type of kayak rack you need
You’ll first need to figure out where you want to set up your kayak storage system before you start shopping. A great option that fits on the side of your dock is great if your dock is smaller, unlike larger kayak racks that are designed for garages or large rooms.
While the average recreational kayak is about six to 12 feet long, a performance option can stretch to 18 feet. If you have more than one kayak or are looking to store one alongside a canoe or paddleboard make sure to measure all your materials before shopping.
1. Kayak storage racks that mount to the side of your dock
If you only have a couple of kayaks or stand-up paddleboards, one of the most common options is to install a kayak rack to the side of your dock. Many of these come with straps to secure the kayak, and stay out of the way when not in use.
Hiadventurers single kayak rack for kayaks up to 100 pounds
If you just have one kayak that you or your family uses, this unit by Hiadventurersis a perfect choice. When looking for a kayak rack for your dock, always make sure it has the ability to be bolted or clamped to the surface of your dock.
This one can be drilled into posts on the side of your dock, so it stays out of the way.
DockEdge: Great for 2-3 kayaks or stand-up paddleboards
The DockEdge brand as seen in the video below creates a few of these specifically for docks you can find here on Amazon.
Most of these racks have adjustable locking straps and are perfect for most users. Dock edge also makes kayak holders, which is a more simple design perfect for temporary storage without the straps.
Since they are one of the leading manufacturers in this category, so you really can’t go wrong with one of their solutions.
2. Double-sided and multi-tier kayak storage racks
If you’re looking to store multiple kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes you may want to go with a multi-tier kayak or SUP rack.
Double-sided kayak racks
Another design that may be ideal for quick access from the dock (and not mounted) are double-sided kayak racks. They do make double-sided wooden models like this one that you can purchase online, or try to build one if you have the skill set.
These are typically free-standing and require more space, but can typically be bolted into your dock for added security.
Other options like the Double-Sided SUP and Kayak Rack from Store Your Board is customizable, so you can add or take away arms and ultimately store up to 10 boards or kayaks.
This rack is also made of stainless steel so it’s weatherproof for dockside storage.
3. Kayak launch systems
If you’re looking to install your kayak storage right off your dock, there are some great options. Launch systems are designed so that you can easily lift and lower your kayak from and into the water.
Many have ladder systems built into the side so you can then hop into your kayak from the dock or seawall. Grab rails also provide added stability when boarding your kayak, and can be used to push off and launch yourself once you’re in the water.
When it’s time to come back in and dock your kayak, you can steer it right into the rack you launched it from, climb up the ladder, and then hoist it back up to the sea wall. The kayak can then easily be pulled from the launch pad, whether it’s a sit-inside or sit-on-top.
The E-Z kayak launch
If you’re looking for a system with added stability, consider the EZ Kayak Launch. This option comes with a wider launch pad with a V-shaped entry that allows users to steer right in when re-entering the launch pad.
It also includes paddle notches on the sides of the launch pad, making it much easier to pull yourself out and launch the kayak.
4. Polyethylene dock racks
One option that looks as cool as it is convenient is the polyethylene Wave Armor Dock Kayak/Canoe Rack. Here, you can easily store two kayaks or canoes on the rack, and it also mounts onto the side of your dock.
This dock storage rack is less common in design, with eye-loops molded into each arm. You can then strap your kayaks onto the stand for added protection.
5. Building a DIY kayak storage rack for your dock
There are ways to replicate options that you find online, some of which don’t require that much money.
If you have a larger dock and don’t necessarily need a rack that stays out of the way, below is a quick video of a wooden DIY kayak rack you can build for less than $50:
Other DIY pros have put together kayak racks from PVC pipes, or built out their own storage solutions near the water.
Some go as far as to build a boathouse attached to the dock that is long enough to store a kayak or two. You can then purchase a traditional wall-rack, and you won’t have to worry about the elements or wind potentially damaging anything.
When it comes to selecting an effective storage rack, the most important factor to consider is how often you intend to use your kayak or SUP. If you are an occasional user, it may make more sense to invest in a garage or wall-mounted rack.
On the other hand, if you plan to use them rather frequently, a dock mounted rack or even a lift can be a great investment.
Since many of these simply bolt on to the surface, you can install them in the summer (for example), and disassemble them during the winter or outside of peak season.
For more ideas for your dock, check out my post 21 Fun Boat Dock Accessories Everyone Will Enjoy.